Five #DemsinPhilly Stories the EdPress Hasn’t Told You (Yet)

There’s no shortage of outlets and reporters covering education goings-on in Philadelphia this week — Politico’s Morning EDU & EdWeek’s PoliticsK12 being the most obvious. The Seventy Four is there, too. (See EdWeek’s roundup of who’s there and what they’re trying to do here.)

So far as I’ve seen it’s all been solid, workmanlike stuff — with the exception of EdWeek’s DNC email story, which took some initiative. No one should lose their jobs. But it has to be said that much of the education coverage so far has seemed convenient or obvious (or both), or speculative and/or talking points-oriented. Not nearly as much of it has been truly “behind the scenes” as one might reasonably expect given the resources dedicated to the effort.

But it’s not too late. Here are a slew of stories that I haven’t seen (and would still like to see) — all of which would take some calls and some shoe leather but are totally do-able given the size of the teams involved:

5- About those DFER events. There were two panels and a reception hosted by DFER/ERN on Monday, which were covered to some extent but with little background reporting. Why did the events come together so late? Were NEA and AFT heads invited to speak as they were in 2012? Did prominent Democrats (Booker, Bennet) decline? Was it meaningful or irrelevant that the second panel addressed non-school factors (“the intersectionality of education with socioeconomic conditions affecting children”)?

4 – About that DNC platform. The week before the convention, AFT head Randi Weingarten and a few others successfully amended the party platform in ways that were objectionable to pro-charter, pro-accountability Democrats. How did the AFT pull this off? What does it tell us about where reformers sit in the pre-Clinton era? Did the AFT overstate its victory with the platform? Did DFER et al cry wolf?

3 — About those DNC emails. We now know thanks to a few outlets including EdWeek (and Vladimir Putin) that the AFT and DNC were in fairly close communication about issues leading up to the DNC this week. But what about others, including DFER types and others? And what about the NEA? Who’s left out is just as interesting as who’s involved.

2 — About delegates. Here and there, we find out who’s at the DNC — Troy Laravierre, Randi Weingarten, Whitney Tilson, among others. But it’d be interesting and useful to find out who else is there — NEA and AFT local presidents, I’m assuming, along with folks who’ve given to the party. I still haven’t seen an ed-related list of delegates or speakers, though one may be out there.

1 — About the Sanders and BLM movements. Until the very end, we weren’t sure whether Chicago’s Troy Laravierre was going to vote for Sanders or Clinton. But what about the role of educators in both the Sanders crew, and what about educators in the #BLM protests and events going on around the DNC events? It seems like they’re part of both movements, but to what extent and towards what end it’s not entirely clear.

On the innovation front, it’d be great to see more live video (Persicope or Facebook Live, take your pick), or video clips. Snapchat, Instagram, and plain old Twitter are pretty good for still images, too. EdWeek has a photographer there.

For background, here’s Politico’s DNC convention output:

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Here’s what we’ve gotten from PoliticsK12 so far:

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And here’s what we’ve gotten from The Seventy Four:

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Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.